Las Fallas In Valencia, Part 3: Highlights, Food and Fun

lasfallas valencia the spain scoop

Zach, our expert for Las Fallas in Valencia.

Sometimes, you just gotta be there and if you can’t make it to Valencia for Las Fallas, our expert from Valencia, entices you into the Las Fallas experience.  Armchair travel is second best.  As primers for Part 3, read Zach’s other posts on Las Fallas, Part 1 – What To Expect and Part 2 -Fallas, When, Where, and How.  Zach is detailed in his writing combining historical perspectives and how to’s.   His reporting is excellent and will prepare you for this stunning celebration or Costa Blanca holidays in general. Part 3 covers where to go and what we all love:  Spanish food. I am in for the fried pumpkin dough dessert.  March 15-19.

By Zach Frolich

 

las fallas,  valencia,  the spain scoop

Falleros making a huge paella at Las Fallas.

There will be an award contest for the best 3-6 fallas in several different categories, the main ones being, Best Falla Mayor, Best Falla Infantil, and Best Light Display. So different casals put their focus in different features of their  falla each year. So that you don’t have to go to all 600+ fallas, here I’ll provide you with the usual top ones:

Must see fallas:

1) Campanar – Out of the way, north of the River Turia, but it usually has the biggest budget of all the fallas in the city
2) Sueca – In the Russafa neighborhood
3) Convento-Jerusalén – In the neighborhood just to the west of the North Train Station
4) Ayuntamiento – At the Plaza del Ayuntamiento
5) Na Jordana – located at the edges of El Carmen next to the River Turia park

Must see light displays:*

 1) Sueca
2) Literato-Azorín
3) Cuba
*These are all right next to each other in the Russafa neighborhood, which is why you should go there at night!

Churria’s stand…chocolate and fried dough. Yum!

With all the walking you are going to work up an appetite, which is why I recommend you look for these locals foods…

Fallas Fuel


• Bocata de blanc i negre: The unofficial official food of fallas. It is a sandwich that all the fallero tents cook for their members, which has “morcilla” (black pudding, a.k.a. blood sausage), “longaniza” (a white sausage) and a local Valencian variety of haba beans.
• Bunyols de carabassa: This seasonal fried pumpkin dough dessert, which is a typical street vendor snack (“churrería”) is a staple of fallas. (Many stands will offer churros, which are really from Madrid, but popular with the guiris (foreigners).)
… and then there are the class Valencian dishes to try while there.
• Paella (and all those other rice dishes): This is your chance to try it where it’s from, so go for it!

• Hortxata: Valencia’s most famous local drink. This is a sweet milky white drink made from a bean plant. It will be technically out of season, though you will probably be able to find places that offer it, and you should try it if you can!
• “Agua de València”: Not really water. This local orange-juice infused cocktail, which is kind of like a mimosa, you’ll have to order at a bar. But it’s worth it, since Valencia is all about oranges! (You’ll see a lot of mojitos and caipirinhas being sold at stands. These are not at all traditional drinks here, just popular with the many foreigners in town for the festival.)

 

Zach eating street food, a sausage sandw

Here I am eating the typical staple during Fallas - “un bocata blanc i negre”. I’m also dressed in typical fallas attire with the blue and white “mocador” (“pañuelo” in Spanish, or scarf) and “blusó” (“blusón”, a traditional over-shirt spectators would wear).

Fallas is not quite like New Orlean’s Mardi Gras, since it’s more of a family-friendly event and not limited to just one famous street or neighborhood. And it’s not exactly like Carnival, since it’s not a show or a parade, but rather a four-day street festival.

This is why I’ve stopped trying to explain Fallas to my American friends, and just tell them to come here and check it out for themselves. You’ll love it!
 Zach Frohlich, originally from Austin, Texas, has been traveling between Spain and the U.S. for over a decade, and settled and is living in Valencia for the last couple of years. He is a historian by training and married to a Spaniard. He shares cultural insights and background on Spain at: www.nothemingwaysspain.blogspot.com

Holidays to the Costa Blanca are easy to arrange. Fly from Madrid to Valencia or take the fast train from Barcelona to Valencia. If going for Las Fallas it’s best to book in advance.

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2 Comments

  1. Fernando
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Excellent post… but I’m from Valencia and I’m “obligued” to make some remarks:
    - The numbers of “fallas” usually leads to a mistake… I prefer to say that there are near 400 fallas (385 this year), but each “falla” has a big monument and a “infantil” monument… yes that make a 700+ monuments, but in fact you can see 2 fallas in every zone.
    - Must see fallas… add Pl. del Pilar, because it’s inside a “tiny” square, and walking inside the square makes it perhaps the most impressive falla to see when you think it’ll burn in a few days…
    - Light displays. There are 3 top contestants (light displays is a minor competition, very spectacular, but not the main reason for the festival): Sueca – Literato Azorín (many 1st prices in a row), Cuba – Literato Azorín (last year suprise, and this year 1st or 2nd) and the Cuba – Puerto Rico (less budget, so usually gets 3rd, but very original)… each “falla” is usually named after the two streets in which cross it’s situated, altough we usually shorten the more famous (Convento Jerusalén-Matemático Marzal becomes “Convento”, Cuba – Literato Azorín becomes “Cuba”… but be careful, there are 4 more fallas in Cuba street…)
    - You can add “Must see mascletàs”, there is no contest, but every falla fires their own mascletà. Specially on the 19th, there are some displays that allow you to feel the noise even closer, much closer than in Ayuntamiento, for example: Cuenca – Obispo Amigo or Mercat de Russafa (some at 14h, some at 1430, some at 15h). You can see the 15th and 16th mascletà of Ayuntamiento, but if you don’t want to get bored, go and see differents mascletàs, feel the shock wave, the heat and the “danger”, search in Youtube (http://youtu.be/ghoWnEsvsME or http://youtu.be/eKDEWALmYZQ) for this mascletas or in other webs.
    - Bunyols de carabassa… my favourites (please, “churros” no), but be careful, 70% of them are only “bunyols”, with no “carabassa” (pumpkin) inside the dough, read carefully and watch people around… if there is a queue with local people waiting, you can see pumpkins and the price is a bit more expensive… it’s for a good reason.

  2. admin
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all your extra local tips!

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